Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 03/29/2011

From an email from DG:
1) Tunisia's offended

Recently Israel upped the package it offers to new Olim, for Olim coming from Tunisia.
Earlier Thursday, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced that the government would debate the details of the package, which will purportedly offer NIS 10,000 to Tunisian Jews in addition to benefits awarded to other olim.

“The regime change in Tunisia as a result of the Jasmine revolution... has brought about the Islamization of the government and rise in anti-Semitism,” stated a ministry document quoted by Israeli media. “There has a been an increasingly worsening attitude by the authorities and society toward the Jewish community.”

Elad Sonn, the ministry spokesman, confirmed the wording of the document and said it was based on “information from the Jewish Agency.”

Roger Bismuth, president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, said he had not noted a change in the government’s attitude toward Jews, nor did he know of plans by community members to leave the country en masse, although he didn’t rule it out entirely.
Now Tunisia's offended.
Tunisia’s government on Monday condemned an effort by Israeli officials to entice Tunisian Jews to emigrate to Israel over concerns about possible economic hardship in the North African country.

The “ill-disposed” call from Israeli officials amounted to meddling in Tunisia’s domestic affairs, an effort to sow suspicion, and “an attempt by Israel to tarnish the post-revolutionary image of Tunisia,” wrote the Foreign Ministry in a statement.
2) Cash for Hamas

I get frustrated when I read what Jackson Diehl wrote yesterday about Obama's insistence on Israel freezing settlement construction:
The president made his mind-set clear from the beginning of his administration, when he chose to begin his diplomacy by demanding a complete freeze on Israeli settlement activity — a condition Abbas had never set but which he quickly adopted as his own. In a meeting with American Jewish leaders at the White House this month, Obama indicated that he hadn’t changed his mind. Abbas, he insisted, was ready to establish a Palestinian state. The problem was that Israel had not made a serious territorial offer.
Maybe he's ready to establish a state, but is he ready to live in peace with Israel? I'm not so certain.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to give up hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid if that is what is necessary to forge a reconciliation deal with Hamas, the Associated Press quoted his adviser as saying on Monday.
Azzam Ahmed stated that "the Palestinians need American money, but if they use it as a way of pressuring us, we are ready to relinquish that aid."
For some reason or another, wanting to ally with a terrorist organization is not an obstacle to peace, but Israeli building residences is. Nor is this merely a fit of pique. It is apparently a reflection of official Fatah policy.

This is, of course, consistent with Article 8 of the unreconstructed Palestinian charter.
The phase in their history, through which the Palestinian people are now living, is that of national (watani) struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Thus the conflicts among the Palestinian national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other. On this basis the Palestinian masses, regardless of whether they are residing in the national homeland or in diaspora (mahajir) constitute - both their organizations and the individuals - one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through armed struggle.
3) Maybe Israel ought to offer aid to Norwegian Jews

Alan Dershowitz figures that Jews ought to leave Norway
The first boycott signatory was Trond Adresen, a professor at Trondheim. About Jews, he has written: "There is something immensely self-satisfied and self-centered at the tribal mentality that is so prevalent among Jews. . . . [They] as a whole, are characterized by this mentality. . . . It is no less legitimate to say such a thing about Jews in 2008-2009 than it was to make the same point about the Germans around 1938."
This line of talk—directed at Jews, not Israel—is apparently acceptable among many in Norway's elite. Consider former Prime Minister Kare Willock's reaction to President Obama's selection of Rahm Emanuel as his first chief of staff: "It does not look too promising, he has chosen a chief of staff who is Jewish." Mr. Willock didn't know anything about Mr. Emanuel's views—he based his criticism on the sole fact that Mr. Emanuel is a Jew. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fewer than 1,000 Jews live in Norway today.
(The Marketwatch - as opposed to the WSJ - version has no restrictions.)

4) After the revolution

To his credit, Nicholas Kristof goes back to Egypt and doesn't like what he sees.
Her odyssey is a reminder that the Egyptian revolution that exhilarated so many around the world in January and February remains unfinished. The army is as much in charge as ever, and it has taken over from the police the task of torturing dissidents. President Hosni Mubarak is gone, but in some ways Mubarakism continues.
Unfortunately Kristof's only villains are Mubarak and the army. Bret Stephens acknowledges another force at work.
From the hotel we walk toward Tahrir Square, site of the massive protests that last month brought down Hosni Mubarak. Much was made at the time of the care the demonstrators had taken to tidy up the square, but now it's back to its usual shambolic state. Much was made, too, of how the protests were a secular triumph in which the Muslim Brotherhood was left to the sidelines. But that judgment now looks in need of major revision.

Mahmoud points to a building facing the square where, until a few weeks ago, a giant banner demanded "80 Million Noes" to a package of constitutional amendments meant to pave the way toward parliamentary and presidential elections in just a few months time. The banner had been placed there by the secular groups at the heart of the protests, which have good reason to fear early elections. Early elections will only benefit well-organized and politically disciplined groups like the Brotherhood and the remnants of Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, which is really the party of the Egyptian military.
In the event, the ayes had it with a whopping 77%, despite a fevered turnout effort by "No" voters. "The West seems to be convinced that the revolution was led by secular democratic forces," says Mahmoud. "Now that myth is shattered. Which means that either the old order"—by which he means the military regime—"stays in power, or we're headed for Islamist dominance."
Funny how the New York Times columnist doesn't see the Islamism.

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